Family and friends!
Wheew, this week was quite the ride. I´m definitely having a different experience than Brittany--she sounds like she´s soooo enjoying being in Japan and interacting with everyone! I´m still struggling to enjoy it down here, especially because my trainer is having some problems with obedience, but I´m hoping and praying things will get better. We do have some funny experiences also--more or less. It depends on you perspective. I was on a mikro (city bus) that had 27 seats, but we were crammed together with 44 people. I´ve never been so crowded in my life. Luckily I thought it was hilarious rather than freaking out about how hot it was or how I was running out of air to breathe. Such is the life.
Some fun facts about my zone/mission: In my zone we have missionaries from Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Chile, Mexico, and the U.S. We´re diverse haha. Our mission is a very young mission; the average age of our missionaries is 10 months in the field. Most of our zone leaders only have 14 months, and everyone else is around 3-8 months. So some of the work is difficult with such young/inexperienced boys, but it keeps things interesting at the least.
Happy Halloween to you all! I miss all the fun festivities like ward trunk-or-treats and whatnot. In the store here they have Hallowee masks, but otherwise I don´t think they really celebrate it here. Nothing has changed and there´s certainly no decorations or ward activities... Mum, sorry you were sick! That´s never any fun. And the rest of the family sounds like they have been sooooooo busy! Thanks for writing me Cameron, Lacey, Tyler, Dad, and Mum! I don´t have time to respond to everyone individually today, but know that I love getting mail from you! Tyler, definitely do your project with an Aussie accent ;)
This Saturday we had the baptism of David (the spouse of Katy, whom we baptized two weeks ago) and Paola (the younger sister of Katy). Without getting into specifics, let me just testify that Satan unleashes all hell on people the week/day of their baptism. The closer they get, the more ridiculous the situation becomes. But it just goes to show how important this work is and how hard I need to work to help people come unto Christ. And while I´m speaking about trials, let me share a scripture. In Alma 14:9-29 we read the story of Alma and Amulek when they were forced to watch their friends and loved ones viciously martyred for believing in Christ. Afterwards, Alma and Amulek were thrown in prison and beaten and interrogated for days (I think about 12 if my memory is right). They suffered immensely before finally being delivered by God. But why did this happen to them? They were valient missionaries/prophets of the Lord. They were righteous members at the least. The lesson learned is that being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or any type of Christian) doesn´t mean we´re going to have an easy or pain-free life. It doesn´t mean we won´t have diffiulties or suffer. What it does mean, however, is that if we endure our trials well, always relying on the Lord, our triumph and reward in the end will be great and WORTH IT. Don´t forget that the Lord promises His help and blessings throughout this life too if we remain righteous, but an even greater reward and rest awaits us if we endure well. All that seems unfair in this life will be made just in the next life. I know it.
One last thought: When you are asked to say the prayer, don´t complain. Don´t groan or act like it´s an unwanted obligation. Prayer is an opportunity to talk with your Heavenly Father. Think about it: God--the creator of all things, the great omnipotent and omniscient ruler of all worlds and galaxies--is giving you--an insignificant sinner-- the opportunity to communicate with Him. Even moreso, He asks you to. He wants you to. He commands you to. And why? So that He can bless you even more. So yes, be willing and excited that you get to be the spokesperson for a group of gathered children of the Lord to offer a prayer to your Creator. That is all ;)
Have a wonderful week!
Elder Long :)